The BBC’s Reality Check team have confirmed that lorry queues at Dover are down to Brexit – despite claims by the Port to the contrary.
Drivers have expressed fury at the hold-ups after it was reported that queues on the south coast are that long they can now be seen from space.
One haulier told The Independent that he had been stuck in queues up to nine miles long since full customs controls came into force at the beginning of January.
“It’s entirely Brexit – you can’t blame it on anything else but Brexit,” said the driver.
Others pointed to a cocktail of Brexit checks and cumbersome Covid paperwork.
The BBC’s Reality Check team conducted their own investigation into the hold-ups, concluding that a raft of new measures for goods imported from the EU that came into force at the start of the year should be blamed.
From 1 January 2022, lorries taking goods from Great Britain to the EU, have to use the Goods Vehicle Movement System (GVMS), the UK government’s new IT system, to get any goods through customs in ports that use it. This includes Dover and the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone.
BBC trade correspondent Chris Morris has been told it’s been taking about 15 minutes per vehicle to process the paperwork.
He says that’s likely to get faster as people get used to the new system, but delays aren’t going to disappear altogether. And that’s a problem when the roll-on roll-off ferry operation is so time-sensitive.
The Port of Dover said that increased customs checks were “not the sole reason for queues”.
It pointed to other factors including the volume of freight, work going on in the Port of Dover and a number of ferries being out of action for servicing.
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